We had done very well in the tournament. The little league baseball team had endured the hot Oklahoma sun, and the coach was ready to celebrate with his up-and-coming major leaguers.
Everyone was hungry and tired. Feeding the crew in short order was a priority. Having multiple food options would keep everyone happy. What better place to build camaraderie than the local buffet?
The sound of cleats marching across the tile floor of the restaurant filled the air as little foot soldiers grabbed trays and made the dash to the grazing trough. Barely tall enough to see over the side boards, short arms reached for everything from banana pudding to pizza to chicken legs. Mayhem was unleashed. The feeding frenzy was underway. The celebration was launched. Corralling parents kept food fights at bay and soft drink spills to a minimum.
As blood sugars began to level off and appetites were satisfied, my wife and I became aware of other guests making their way through the food maze. A single mother with several children gained our attention. As she piled food on plates for several small children and nudged them down the line, she allowed her straggling older son the privilege of independent food selection. Her hands were occupied keeping up with the balance of her tribe and juggling multiple food preferences.
As mom turned her back on the buffet, her lone-wolf son put final touches on his selections at the food fest. As mom dumped the diaper bag and commandeered the troops, her son placed a huge cinnamon roll on the edge of his tray. And then he did it. Unnoticed by mom, but before our very eyes he did the unthinkable.
If you are a buffet fan, then I hope what I am about to share won’t ruin your Sunday tradition. However, if you are like me and the thought of eating at a buffet makes you crave bologna, you will forever be justified in demanding the group eat elsewhere.
With the cinnamon roll well placed on his tray, the little boy looked toward mom, gazed at the cinnamon roll tongs, licked his lips and then ran his tongue down the entire length of offending utensil. Without batting an eye, he placed the tongs back on top of the buffet, smiled and joined his family at the table.
Yuck! Our once satisfying meal began to churn in our bellies. Did this just happen! Had we been spared only by time itself? How would we have known any different had we been next in line? Or were we any different at all? Sure, it may not have been the cinnamon roll tongs, but what about the cake spatula or the pudding spoon! Uncertain as to whether we had been victimized, we swore off buffet lines for life.
As we drove away, we couldn’t help but laugh. Maybe what you don’t know won’t hurt you. And then I was reminded. God knows me better than I know myself. He knows me at my best and at my worst. Nonetheless, not only does He know me, but He loves me, even if I do lick the cinnamon roll tongs.